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Dusty Baker on Nationals’ decision to call Brian Goodwin up from Triple-A

Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker talked to reporters this afternoon about the decision to give 2011 1st Round pick Brian Goodwin an opportunity on the major league roster.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

So why did the Washington Nationals call 25-year-old outfielder Brian Goodwin up this afternoon when they placed Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-Day DL (retroactive to August 1st)? Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker discussed the decision when he met with reporters in advance of tonight’s matchup with the San Francisco Giants in the nation’s capital.

So why Goodwin instead of any of the other outfielders in the minors?

“We sent Michael [A. Taylor] down to play,” Baker explained, touching on one other potential option.

“So to call him back now, he would be in the same position by not playing, or spot-playing.”

Also, Goodwin has been good at Triple-A this season, posting a .284/.350/.434 line with 25 doubles, a triple, 11 HRs and 14 stolen bases in 451 plate appearances, after a few up and down seasons in the organization in which the 2011 1st Round pick struggled with injuries.

“Goody earned it,” Baker said. “We believe in also calling up guys that are on the roster, but you want to call up guys that have earned it. He’s having a good year.”

“He’s having the best year since he’s been with us,” Baker continued. “I urged him in Spring Training to have this — hopefully — this kind of year, because you can go from a prospect to a suspect in no time. And so, he was kind of at that — I told him, ‘You’re at a turning point in your baseball career,’ and so he turned it on and you’ve got reward guys when they do what you asked them to do.”

Baker didn’t get much time with Goodwin in Spring Training before the outfielder was optioned to the Nationals’ top minor league affiliate, but he said today that he did get a good impression of what the left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing 6’0’’, 205 lb North Carolina native can do.

“I could see why the organization put him on the roster,” Baker said.

“He has tremendous talent, he just had to figure it out. I kept him around probably longer than most managers would have just to get him some big league knowledge and some big league feel and to motivate to try to get back here.

“I gave him some pinch hits sometimes that I probably shouldn’t have, but sometimes you do things for the player in the future even though they may not see it at the time, then I was pleased to see that he actually hit better against left-handers than right-handers. And that’s what’s probably most impressive.”

At Triple-A this season, Goodwin has a .326/.380/.386 line against left-handed pitchers and a .261/.333/.405 line against righties, with 11 doubles and four home run vs left-handers and 14 doubles and seven home runs vs right-handers.

When he does get in a game, he’ll be making his MLB debut, five seasons after the Nationals made him the 34th overall selection in 2011, as part of a draft class that included Anthony Rendon (No. 6 overall), Alex Meyers (No.23) and Matt Purke (3rd Round, No. 96) in just the top four picks.

Goodwin will be the last of the four to make it the majors, but he’ll likely get his opportunity some time in the near future.